29 Jul — 24 Aug 2024

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

A small classroom in Iran is the birthplace for a big-hearted comedy. Winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, English is a story of falling in love with your own voice.


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This is rated 5 out of 5 stars

‘A stunning play about hope, belonging and desire.’

New York Theatre Guide
This is rated 0 out of 5 stars

‘A rich new play ... both contemplative and comic.’

The New York Times


It’s 2008. In a small classroom in Iran, Marjan is teaching English.

Her group of adult learners each have their own relationship to this new language – for some it means opportunities abroad, for others a way to grow closer to grandchildren. Whatever their motives, these strangers find tensions flaring, connections forming and truths emerging as they hurtle towards their final exam.  

From the imperfect conversations you’ll only hear in a language lesson to the humour of getting lost in translation, English follows a lovingly rendered ensemble of characters that will carve out a place in your heart as they learn what it means to express themselves.

Directed by Resident Director Tasnim Hossain (I Wanna Be Yours), and starring Salme Geransar (Mystery Road: Origin) and Osamah Sami (ABC’s Savage River), this is a story of falling in love with your own voice.


  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Hearing Assistance

  • Audio Described

  • Tactile Tour

  • Open Captioning

  • Closed Captioning

  • Auslan Interpreted

Performance Type Performance Date(s)
Audio Described
by Vision Australia
Saturday 10 August at 2pm
Tuesday 13 August at 6.30pm

Tactile Tour
at venue
Saturday 10 August at 2pm (Tactile tour commences at 1pm)
Open Captioning
via screen
Saturday 17 August at 2pm
Closed Captioning
via GoTheatrical App
Saturday 17 August at 2pm
Auslan Interpreted
by Auslan Stage Left
Tuesday 20 August at 6.30pm
Artwork for Maia Abbas

Maia Abbas


Maia is an Iraqi-born Australian actor and co-founder of Exodus Films. Since leaving Iraq in 2015, she has attended the VCA and has also trained at the Joseph Pearlman Acting Academy and Beverly Hills Playhouse in Los Angeles. English will be her first appearance with Melbourne Theatre Company. Maia made her stage debut as the lead in UgLeigh (Crowded Together Productions) which was held at the Alex Theatre as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She is best known for playing the leading role of Batul Al-Hamedi in House of Gods (ABC / Matchbox Pictures), which was part of this year’s Series Mania International Series Competition in France. Other credits include Apple Cider Vinegar (See-Saw Films / Netflix); and Savage River (Aquarius Films / ABC). Some of Maia’s work with Exodus Films include producing the upcoming Italian period piece, Imperium (2024) and the French historical drama, Land of Nod (2022).

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Delaram Ahmadi

Delaram Ahmadi


Delaram Ahmadi graduated from 16th Street Actors’ Studio in 2018 and is making her debut with Melbourne Theatre Company. Her previous theatre credits include Caress/Ache, The Waiting Room (Silver String Productions); The Regina Monologues (24 Carrot Productions). She has also starred in the Netflix series Apple Cider Vinegar and short films including Code of Behaviour, Trauma Model and The White Limbo. Delaram is represented by Benchmark Creative Management.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Salme Geransar

Salme Geransar


Salme Geransar is an Iranian-Australian actor and artist making her Melbourne Theatre Company debut. Previous stage productions include Decadence (Hit & Run) and the original production of Alex & Eve (Marrickville Theatre Company). She played Anousha in the acclaimed series Mystery Road: Origin (ABC), which won Best Drama Series in the 2022 AACTA Awards. Her other television credits include Clickbait (Netflix), Spreadsheet, Neighbours, Winners & Losers, Rush and the Canneseries-nominated Swift Street. Her film credits include Izzy Gets the Fuck Across TownThe Mandela Effect, and the upcoming thriller We Bury the Dead. Along with the cast of Mystery Road: Origin, Salme received the 2023 Equity Ensemble Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Marjan Mesbahi

Marjan Mesbahi


Marjan is a Melbourne-based Iranian actor who migrated 23 years ago as a registered nurse. English is Marjan’s Melbourne Theatre Company debut. Other theatre credits include Echoes of Healing (Peridot Theatre); Bacchae Too (Peridot Theatre); and The Belly Dancer (Tripwire Theatre Company). She also performed in The Letter Exhibition, Pro-Femina photography and Exhibition Street Massacre (Ballarat Art Gallery). Her film credits include the award-winning Shayda, For the Better, Whistleblower and two short films, Nour and Nena. She also featured in an episode of Five Bedrooms. Marjan wrote Don’t Tell Mum, a work about Iranian women, life and freedom movement, for which she was mentored by Joanna Murray-Smith and Iain Sinclair, creating awareness, healing, hope and empowerment. She received Lyrebird Award nominations for Highly Commended Performance in a One Act Play and Best One Act Play for her role in Echoes of Healing.

Current as of July 2024

Osamah Sami

Osamah Sami


Actor, writer and comedian Osamah Sami returns to Melbourne Theatre Company following his Green Room award-nominated performance in I Call My Brothers. His other theatre credits include Tales of a City by the Sea (La Mama Theatre) and Good Muslim Boy (Malthouse Theatre / Queensland Theatre), an adaptation of his critically acclaimed memoir of the same name. His TV credits include House of Gods (ABC), which he co-created, Savage River, Jack Irish, East West 101, Rush and City Homicide. Osamah co-wrote and starred in Ali’s Wedding (Netflix), which won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at Sydney Film Festival and earned him an AACTA Award nomination for Best Lead Actor. His other feature film credits include Shayda, for which he was also nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor, The Furnace and Saved. He has also been recognised as a ‘notable Australian Muslim’ by the Commonwealth of Australia.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Sanaz Toossi

Sanaz Toossi


Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright from California. Her plays include the Pulitzer Prize-winning English (co-production, Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theatre Company) and Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons; Williamstown / Audible). She is currently under commission at Atlantic Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (American Revolutions Cycle). In television, Sanaz recently staffed on Invitation to a Bonfire (AMC); A League of Their Own (Amazon); Five Women (Marielle Heller / Big Beach). She sold an original idea, The Persians, to FX. Sanaz is a member of Youngblood and the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark, and an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group. She was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award, the 2022 recipient of The Horton Foote Award and the 2023 recipient of the Best New American Play Obie Award.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Tasnim Hossain

Tasnim Hossain


Tasnim Hossain is Resident Director at Melbourne Theatre Company, where she directed I Wanna Be Yours, assistant directed Seventeen, Bernhardt/Hamlet and Bloom, been a dramaturg for Cybec Electric 2023, and directed the First Stage 2022 readings. She co-directed and dramaturged Lost in Shanghai (CAAP / OzAsia Festival) and was assistant director on Banging Denmark (STC). Her production of Yellow Face (Dinosaurus Productions / KXT) was nominated for four 2021 Sydney Theatre Awards, winning Best Direction of an Independent Production. Other directing credits include How I Learned to Drive (NIDA); Sweat (VCA); and Rough Draft #49 – Garage Sale (STC). As a writer, she was co-recipient of the inaugural NSW Musical Theatre Fellowship (CreateNSW / Hayes Theatre Company) and her script Bombay Takeaway was shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Award. She received the 2022 Women’s Agenda Award for Emerging Leader in Arts and Entertainment, and is a recent graduate of Theatre Network Australia’s Leadershift program.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Kat Chan

Kat Chan

Set & Costume Designer

Kat Chan is an award-winning theatre designer for theatre, dance, video installation and photography. Originally trained as an architect, Kat has worked in practices in Adelaide and Tokyo before returning to Australia to study Master of Production Design at VCA. She is a regular casual mentor and tutor in Performance Design at the Victorian College of the Arts. Recent/select credits include for Melbourne Theatre Company, I Wanna Be Yours (Set & Costume Designer), Admissions (Costume Designer), Touching the Void (Costume Designer), Lifespan of a Fact (Costume Designer), Torch the Place (Costume Designer), Golden Shield (Associate Designer), Beached (Costume Designer); for The Australian Ballet, Annealing (Costume Designer), Raymonda Act III (Set Designer), From Silence (Set & Costume Designer); for Malthouse, Monsters (Costume Designer), Because the Night (Costume Designer); for IF Theatre/Belvoir, Mother (Set & Costume Designer); and for AsiaTopa Fed Square, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, The People’s Currency (Set & Costume Designer). Kat’s costume designs for The Lifespan of a Fact won a Green Room Award.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Paul Lim

Paul Lim

Lighting Designer

Paul Lim is director of Additive, a Melbourne-based company providing innovative lighting design and technical solutions to the arts, entertainment and installation sectors. He returns to Melbourne Theatre Company following Happy Days and The Lifespan of a Fact. Other lighting and technical installation highlights include Flash Forward (City of Melbourne); Neon Playground (Melbourne Zoo); The Heart @ Melbourne Connect (University of Melbourne); The Brain Light Sculpture (Monash Brain Park); Breathing Space (Genevieve Lacey / National Museum of Australia); One Single Action, NewRetro (Lucy Guerin Inc); The Magic Flute (New Zealand Opera); Hair: The 50th Anniversary Australian Tour (Peace Productions / Sydney Opera House); international touring seasons of Split (Lucy Guerin Inc); Hot Brown Honey (Quiet Riot). Paul's depth of knowledge has provided integrated solutions for ongoing clients including Melbourne Museum, MONA FOMA, City of Greater Geelong and City of Melbourne.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Hamed Sadeghi

Hamed Sadeghi


Born in Iran, Hamed Sadeghi is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Sydney Australia. He studied Persian classical music in Tehran and master of sound engineering in Malaysia before he moves to Australia in 2013. His recent professional highlights in theatre, dance and film include Sami in Paradise, Stop Girl, The Boomkak Panto, Opening Night, The Master and Margarita (Belvoir); Tout Ce Sa (Sydney Dance Company); How I Practice My Religion (Riverside Theatre and Melbourne Dance House); The Iliad Outloud (Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and Fourwinds festival); Tennessine (Sydney Film Festival). As a composer, Sadeghi has released 6 albums to critical acclaim and has earned recognition through nominations for ARIA Awards 2021 for Best World Music Album and Best Jazz Album. He has been a finalist at APRA Art Music Awards and has been nominated for Best Original Score at Sydney Theatre Awards in 2019.

Current as of July 2024

Marco Cher-Gibard

Marco Cher-Gibard

Sound Designer

Marco Cher-Gibard is an artist working with sound to explore contemporary culture, expression and experience. He is a constant collaborator and deviser working in live performance of contexts. Select compositions and sound designs for live performance include: Laurinda (Melbourne Theatre Company), Complexity of Belonging (Melbourne Theatre Company / Chunky Move); Super Discount (Back to Back Theatre / Sydney Theatre Company); Lady Eats Apple (Back to Back Theatre); Homo Pentecostus, Monsters, KBOX and I am a Miracle (Malthouse Theatre); Nayikia A Dancing Girl (Belvoir); Mohini and Narasimha (Raina Peterson); We All Know What’s Happening (Samara Hersch and Lara Thoms). Recent awards include The Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre, the International Ibsen Award with Back to Back Theatre, and Green Room awards for Composition and Sound Design (I am a Miracle, Siren Dance), Visual Design (Mohini), Technical Achievement (…Derelict in Uncharted Space…) and Innovation in Site Specific Work (MASS).

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Ana Bayat

Ana Bayat

Persian Language Accent / Dialect Coach

Ana Bayat is a dialect coach and multilingual storyteller with over three decades of experience in theatre, film, voice-over, translation and language/dialect coaching worldwide. She is fluent in UK/US English, Persian, Spanish, French and is proficient in German, Catalan and Italian. Ana is the creator of the critically acclaimed solo show Mimi’s Suitcase (NNF Grant in Innovative Arts, shortlisted for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Her recent work includes coaching Glenn Close to speak seamless Persian in the Apple TV+ series Tehran, dialect coaching for English at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Barrington Stage, Studio Theatre (also as cultural and casting consultant). Her education includes conservatory training in the Stanislavski system, Post-Graduate Diploma in Speech and Dramatic Arts, MA in Film and the Moving Image, MA in Audiovisual Translation and BA in Language and Linguistics (UK).

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Mark Wong

Mark Wong

Voice & Text Coach

Mark is a Melbourne-based voice, speech and communication coach. He graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with an MA (Master of Arts) in Voice Studies and currently holds the position of Associate Lecturer (Voice Specialist) at the VCA Theatre School (FFAM, University of Melbourne). He has also taught at the Arts Academy (Federation University, Ballarat), Film & Television Studio International (Melbourne), and he has conducted monthly voice workshops with Singapore’s first professional acting studio, Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC). Mark’s theatre voice coaching credits include: Laurinda (Melbourne Theatre Company); K-Box (Malthouse Theatre); Nora: A Doll’s House (Union House Theatre); Passing Strange (Antipodes Theatre Company); One Man, Two Guvnors (Heidelberg Theatre Company); Titanic The Musical, The Color Purple (StageArt); Next to Normal, High Fidelity (Pursued by Bear).

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Afsaneh Torabi

Afsaneh Torabi

Assistant Director

Afsaneh is a cross-disciplinary artist who creates work that centres intimacy, participation and encounters with place, others and otherness. Her work has been both at the forefront of emergent forms of theatre and live installation, as well as being dedicated to the preservation of traditional forms and cultural practices from around the globe. As a keen collaborator, she has co-created new work for ArtPlay, PTC, Playable Streets and Polyglot Theatre as well as innumerable independent companies. As a multi-skilled performer, she has presented shows with pioneering Spanish immersive theatre company Teatro De Los Sentidos, and at major arts festivals in Australia and Europe as well as QTC, Patch Theatre, Baran Theatre and Born In a Taxi. Her community arts practice includes designing and leading projects for/with at-risk youth, asylum seekers and remote communities for government and NGOs across Australia. Her work has been recognised by Green Room, Matilda and Melbourne Fringe Awards.

Current as of July 2024

Artwork for Giovanna Yate Gonzalez

Giovanna Yate Gonzalez

Assistant Lighting Designer

Giovanna Yate Gonzalez is a Colombian professional dancer who has expanded her skill set in Australia through a Bachelor of Production in Lighting Design at VCA.  Her design credits span both dance and theatre productions, including Queers of Java with Lengger artist Rianto Manali (Sydney Dance Company); Amelia Jean O’Leary’s STAUNCH ASF (Melbourne Fringe); Lush (Dancehouse / Melbourne Fringe); Siren Dance (Sydney Dance Company / Homo Novus Festival); Fast Food, Shhhh (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre); Slutnik TM (Melbourne Fringe / Adelaide Fringe); Warp and Woof (Federation University). Giovanna is part of Melbourne Theatre Company’s inaugural Future Creatives program for 2024 and was part of the Besen Artistic Program at Malthouse as Lighting Designer in 2023. 

Current as of July 2024

The Sumner

140 Southbank Boulevard

Southbank, Victoria 3006